Last night’s Blackhawks vs. Predators game had a ton of excitement throughout, even in the dull moments. It felt very much like the rivalry game that it has been in the past and with playoff aspirations on the line, every moment was crucial.
With the trade deadline looming, the Blackhawks scratched Erik Gustafsson at the last minute because he will likely be moved in the coming days. Nick Seeler filled the void on the blue line, appearing in his third game for Chicago.
This game started pretty evenly until Matt Duchene was called for slashing just three minutes into the game. The Hawks spent the majority of the power play in the offensive zone with plenty of chances but nothing got past Pekka Rinne.
During an exciting offensive exchange with Predators’ goalie Pekka Rinne out of the net, Slater Koekkoek was called for tripping. On the ensuing power play, Brandon Saad had a wonderful breakaway chance and was hooked on his way to the net, resulting in a penalty shot opportunity. Rinne didn’t bit on Saad’s initial move and was able to make the save look rather easy.
With just under two minutes left in the opening period, Viktor Arvidsson was called for a cross-checking penalty against Nick Seeler. On the rewarded power-play, Duncan Keith came within inches of his 100th career goal when he ringed the puck right off the post. The period then ended scoreless with the Hawks outshooting the Predators 12-10. It was a solid effort from the Hawks in this opening period, however, puck luck was not in their favor.
The second period began as quite a dull affair in the scoring department. Both the Hawks and Predators traded scoring chances with both goalies coming up with some seriously impressive saves.
Duncan Keith was called for holding Kyle Turris 12:25 into the middle frame, sending Nashville to another power play.
It was a full 14 minutes and 56 seconds into the second period when Mattias Ekholm opened the scoring on an odd-man rush. Crawford had an opportunity to stop it but fell short.
A very frustrated Slater Koekkoek interfered with Arvidsson at 15:27 in the frame, sending Nashville to the power play again. It was a rather dumb penalty to take and you could see the frustration on his face.
Then less than a minute later, one of the Hawks’ seasoned veterans, Duncan Keith, was caught hooking and gave Nashville a 5-on-3 power-play. It was a wild sight to see considering this:
This was another bone-headed penalty to take, making it very difficult to win a hockey game when your team is at this bad of a disadvantage. If the Hawks want to win this hockey game, then they need to stop digging their own graves here.
The Blackhawks somehow got through that 5-on-3 power-play unscathed.
The team that comes out on top of a 5-on-3 situation usually wins the hockey game.– Former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville
The score remained 1-0 in favor of Nashville after two periods. Nashville also held a 30-21 advantage in the shots on goal department.
Four Feathers Podcast panelist and On Tap Sports Net writer/Editor-in-Chief Jonnie Nonnie was in attendance again and shared his thoughts mid-second intermission:
Six minutes into the final frame of regulation, Slater Koekkoek took his third venture to the penalty box on a tripping violation. Not long into the Nashville power play, Ryan Johansen hooked Connor Murphy, creating 4-on-4 hockey. Having 0:18 left in the 4-on-4, Kirby Dach was tripped by Filip Forsberg.
This sloppy play gave the Hawks a 4-on-3 power-play, but they weren’t able to cash in. This led to the 5-on-3 power-play, however, they yet again did nothing. Finally, this brings us to about a minute-long regular power play for the Hawks where the Cat, Alex DeBrincat, redirected in a shot from Patrick Kane to tie the game 1-1.
Regulation ended tied at one goal apiece. To 3-on-3 overtime they went.
The two teams traded scoring chances for four minutes until a great poke check and pass from Duncan Keith found DeBrincat wide open for a breakaway, which he buried it right past Pekka Rinne on the glove side.
DeBrincat scored his 15th and 16th goals on the season last night, which is a much-needed offensive presence considering he led the team in goals last year with over 40.
The Blackhawks won 2-1 and picked up that important second point in the standings. On Sunday, they will face a Dallas Stars team that’s coming off a 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues, who are battling the Stars to maintain that top spot in the Western Conference. The puck drops at 2 PM central time on Sunday.
For a further analysis of the game, check out the Blackhawks On Tap postgame show, a production of the Four Feathers Podcast. You can tune in on Apple Podcasts and Spotify among several different platforms in addition to the embedded media player below and as always on the podcasts tab of the website.